WE ARE SO LUCKY. Divers in Britain can make their selection from a wider range of drysuits than divers almost anywhere else in the world. Historically, thats on account of British divers having been keen to immerse themselves in home waters regardless of their uninviting temperatures. Making a drysuit is a labour-intensive affair that suits small businesses, and many major manufacturers started with nothing more then their granny in an attic, a sewing machine and a pot of glue. Even today, suits are still made in Britain that compete in price with those made in China and South-east Asia. Of the two dozen we show here, we merely offer a glimpse of the hundreds that must be available, in ascending price order. Drysuits are designed to keep you dry by keeping the water out. They are made from a variety of materials including bi-laminates of fabric with a layer of butyl rubber sandwiched between them. These are commonly known as trilaminatesuits! Some use rubberised material, and still others use flexible waterproof neoprene. Whichever suit you choose, it is important that it fits you properly. You will be wearing it over an undersuit that provides insulation from the cold. At the same time you dont want one that is big enough for both you and a friend. If yours is not a standard size, its best to get one made to measure (MTM). Even so, let someone who knows what theyre doing take the measurements. Let your friendly dive shop do the honours.


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SEALS at the neck and wrist can be of either latex rubber or neoprene. Latex is more effective but is easily damaged, whereas neoprene is more comfortable to wear but can let dribbles of water through, depending on how closely it fits your skin. Neoprene neck seals are best inverted in on themselves, like a reversed polo-neck, to keep air in the suit.

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WATERTIGHT SEAMS join the panels of material that form the suit. These seams can be stitched and taped or welded or butted and glued, or a combination. It is this seam technology that can make the difference between an effective and a less effective suit in the long term. Examination of the inside of a suit will tell you a lot about the standard to which it is made.

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WRIST SEALS can be of latex and either of a parallel design or forming a long cone shape. Parallel seals work well if they are the right size for your wrist, but long conical seals make a watertight seal on almost any wrist. Neoprene wrist seals tend to last longer but are not so good for anyone who needs to grip things (such as a camera) under water, when leaks might occur.

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POCKETS, often thigh-mounted, are offered as an optional feature. They can be useful, but if they are too big they can have the effect of sea-anchors when swimming any distance, so only have them fitted if you need them. Some pockets are so slim that they are impossible to use for anything much more than a slate.

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BOOTS are usually integrated with the suit legs and are either thermally lined or need to be used in conjunction with socks. Specify your boot size when ordering. A few suits are finished with sock-like ends and these are intended for use with separate boots, usually in the style of lightweight hiking boots.

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A WATERTIGHT ZIP seals the entry point. This must be kept well-maintained and lubricated, normally with a wax oil, if it is to keep on doing its job. Zips can be across-the-shoulder at the rear, diagonally across the chest from waist to shoulder, or in a U-shape across the chest. Some suits have their watertight zips protected by a flap of suit material, while others may be covered by material that is closed by a second over-zip.

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DUMP VALVES are essential when the time comes to ascend. The air will expand and so must be allowed to escape in a controlled manner via such a valve. An auto or constant-volume valve has a spring-tensioner that allows the user to set it to keep the suit at constant volume. A cuff dump is a simple affair that will release air as soon as the wrist is held above the rest of the suit.

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THE AIR present in the suit will be compressed at the pressure of depth, so an inlet valve connected via a hose to a gas supply, normally your main tank, allows you to inject more air as you go down to keep the suit at constant volume. If used skillfully, this has the side effect of keeping your buoyancy the same at any depth as you descend. The valve can be of a design that rotates, so that hose routes are not a problem.

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REINFORCEMENT is essential at the knees. This can take the form of simple glued-on rubber kneepads or be of a hard-wearing material fully integrated with the suit.


BEAVER ICEBERG ULTRA £429

width=100% width=100%A favourite with scallop divers, this conventional 6mm compressed neoprene suit has the minimum number of panels with stitched and glued seams, neoprene seals, simple rubber knee-pads, two thigh pockets and an offset position for its inflation valve.

MATERIAL 6mm neoprene
SIZES 17 male, 11 female
COLOURS 3
MADE TO MEASURE No
www.beaversports.co.uk

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MARES ICE FIT 4 £450

width=100% width=100%Made by the Japanese company Mobby for the Italian company Mares, this stylish suit employs 4mm compressed neoprene with a durable Lycra overlay.
It uses conical latex seals protected by neoprene covers, but neoprene seals
are available as an alternative.

MATERIAL 4mm neoprene
SIZES M: XS - XXL F: XS - XL
COLOURS 2, male/female
MADE TO MEASURE No
www.mares.com

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ROHO COMMERCIAL £454

width=100% width=100%A very basic trilaminate suit at an entry-level price, it features seams with external taping and a cuff dump valve that keeps the price down. A generous fit takes care of the lack of flex in the material. The parallel wrist-seals and a bellows-style neck-seal are of latex.

MATERIAL Trilaminate
SIZES 9 male, 3 female
COLOURS 8
MADE TO MEASURE Yes
www.roho.co.uk

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ROHO DURATEK £524

width=100% width=100%Using a highly flexible waterproof cloth material with a hard-wearing outer layer, this suit features externally taped seams and a simple cuff-mounted dump-valve that keeps it to an economic price point. It uses parallel wrist seals, and the latex neck seal has a neoprene neck-warmer.

MATERIAL Cordura
SIZES 9 male, 3 female
COLOURS 4
MADE TO MEASURE Yes
www.roho.co.uk

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BEAVER CONTOUR £524

width=100% width=100%A conventional trilaminate membrane suit that looks solidly made, the Contour has latex seals hidden beneath its neoprene collar and cuffs. It comes with both a regular thigh-mounted pocket on one side and a unique tool pocket on the other.

MATERIAL Trilaminate
SIZES XS - XXXL
COLOURS As illustrated or black
MADE TO MEASURE No
www.beaversports.co.uk

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BEUCHAT COMFORT DRY £549

width=100% width=100%French manufacturer Beuchat provides a handsome-looking suit in 6.5mm compressed neoprene, with neoprene seals and Swedish valves. Knees are reinforced with a flexible woven material that keeps the suit looking sleek and stylish. Theres a slate pocket at the thigh.
MATERIAL 6.5mm neoprene
SIZES S - XXL
COLOURS As illustrated
MADE TO MEASURE No
www.alphad.org

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SEAC-SUB DRY PLUS £549

width=100% width=100%Generous amounts of neoprene cut with as few panels and seams as possible plus a plush finish to the inner side make this Italian-designed Chinese-made suit superbly comfortable and impart an easy fit. Neoprene seals are used throughout. Rock boots are 30 extra.

MATERIAL 5.5mm neoprene
SIZES M: S - XL F: XS - XL
COLOURS As illustrated
MADE TO MEASURE No
www.beaversports.co.uk

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TYPHOON TRX £549

width=100% width=100%A tough yet straightforward trilaminate suit from a British manufacturer, the knees are reinforced with additional material and a useful thigh-mounted pocket comes as standard. The latex neck seal is covered with a neoprene collar and the wrist-seals are latex.

MATERIAL Cordura/Trilaminate
SIZES XS - xxl
COLOURS As illustrated
MADE TO MEASURE Yes
www.typhoon-int.co.uk

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OTTER MAKO £550

width=100% width=100%The Mako has a front-entry zip combined with an over-long torso with crotch-strap and long conical wrist seals. It uses 2mm neoprene covered in heavy-duty nylon and is supplied either with fixed boots or sock-ends and boots. Its new but already proving popular.
MATERIAL 2/3mm stretch neoprene
SIZES 20 male, 9 female
COLOURS Black, blue or red
MADE TO MEASURE No
www.drysuits.co.uk

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SCUBAPRO EVERDRY 4 £559

width=100% width=100%A slim-fitting neoprene suit that looks good, with well-integrated details. Its extreme flexibility allows its wearer to swim as if wearing a wetsuit. Among the best-looking suits featured here, it has neoprene seals all round and Swedish-made Sitech valves.
MATERIAL 4mm HD neoprene
SIZES XXS - XXL
COLOURS As illustrated
MADE TO MEASURE No
www.scubapro.com

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OCEANIC COMFODRY £599

width=100% width=100%This suit uses 5mm super-stretch neoprene for the upper body and 3.5mm compressed neoprene for the other parts. The seals are of latex with neoprene covers and it has an extra-hard-wearing seat and lower back panel with non-slip surfaces.
MATERIAL 3.5mm neoprene
SIZES S - XXL
COLOURS As illustrated
MADE TO MEASURE No
www.oceanicuk.com

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HUNTER PRO VSN £601

width=100% width=100%Distinguished by its uniquely vulcanised seams, this is a finely constructed suit with superbly comfortable boots. It is made from a waterproof material unique to Hunter and long conical seals keep the water out. Its a suit that looks to be built to last.
MATERIAL Vulca-stretch nylon
SIZES 25 male, 13 female
COLOURS Black
MADE TO MEASURE No
www.hunter-diving.com

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OCEANIC AERDURA BLACK £640

width=100% width=100%Made from hard-wearing Cordura with a titanium lining, an overlong torso allows this flexible suit to be pulled easily over the head, and the extra material is held in a neat tuck at the waist by a crotch strap. Some panels of material are bias-cut to afford more stretch.
MATERIAL Cordura/Titanium
SIZES XS - XXL
COLOURS Black
MADE TO MEASURE No
www.oceanicuk.com

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BARE XCD2 PRO £650

width=100% width=100%This suit from the well-known Canadian manufacturer Bare is made in Malta. It uses 2mm hyper-compressed neoprene laminated with nylon and assembled using no-stitch technology. Fitted with wear-resistant kneepads, it uses a neoprene neck-seal and latex wrist-seals.
MATERIAL Compressed neoprene
SIZES 15 standard
COLOURS As illustrated
MADE TO MEASURE No
www.sea-sea.com

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OTHREE FLEX £659

width=100% width=100%A new heavyweight suit from a British manufacturer, the Flex uses 5mm laminated neoprene to provide insulation additional to that provided by the undersuit. It has neoprene seals all round, non-slip surfaces to the forearms and underarms, and a thigh pocket.
MATERIAL 5mm stretch neoprene
SIZES S - XXL
COLOURS Black/various
MADE TO MEASURE Yes
www.othree.co.uk

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SEEMANN EXTENDER £659

width=100% width=100%A cross-chest zip for front entry combined with an overlong torso that is retained by a tuck and crotch-strap makes this classic trilaminate suit easy to get into. Legs finished with sock-ends allow the use of separate boots, and the latex wrist-seals are conical.
MATERIAL Trilaminate
SIZES 6 male, 3 female
COLOURS As illustrated
MADE TO MEASURE No
www.seemannsub.de

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WATERPROOF SEDNA £695

width=100% width=100%A non-slip finish at the seat and a neoprene overlay over the latex neck seal are some of the extra details added to the design of this high-quality 3.5mm compressed neoprene Swedish womans suit. The conical latex seals at the wrist are covered by neoprene cuffs.
MATERIAL HD neoprene
SIZES XS - XXL
COLOURS As illustrated
MADE TO MEASURE No
www.cps.partnership.com

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BARE XCD TECH £720

width=100% width=100%With what the maker calls automatic torso recoil and without recourse to a crotch-strap, this suit is worn with a tuck. It is made from 2mm hyper-compressed neoprene with no-stitch technology and features a diagonal front-entry zip. It has neoprene neck-seal and latex wrist-seals.
MATERIAL Hyper-compressed neoprene
SIZES 15 standard
COLOURS Black
MADE TO MEASURE No
www.sea-sea.com

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WATERPROOF DRACO £750

width=100% width=100%Constructed from 3.5mm neoprene, this Swedish suit is built to dive in the waters of its home country and has neoprene covering its conical latex seals at both neck and wrists. Non-slip material is added at the shoulders and seat area.
The Draco has big rubber knee-pads.
MATERIAL HD neoprene
SIZES XS - XXL
COLOURS Black
MADE TO MEASURE No
www.cps.partnership.com

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OTHREE RI 2/100 £799

width=100% width=100%Made of 2mm resin-impregnated compressed neoprene with extra-flexible neoprene seals at both neck and wrist, this suit has pressure-absorbing shoulder- and knee-pads together with a non-slip surface to the forearms. A useful thigh-mounted pocket is included.
MATERIAL 2.1mm neoprene
SIZES S - XXL
COLOURS Black/various
MADE TO MEASURE No
www.othree.co.uk

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POSEIDON FLEXISUIT £800

width=100% width=100%A Swedish front-entry suit that is simply and stylishly designed, it uses neoprene for the seals and employs additional hard-wearing non-slip Kevlar weave at the knees, forearms and the seat. It is very sleek in the water and weighs only 2kg dry, so suiting air-travelling divers.
MATERIAL Flexible neoprene
SIZES XS - XXXL
COLOURS Black
MADE TO MEASURE No
www.poseidon-uk.co.uk

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OTTER BRITANNIC TELESCOPIC £855

width=100% width=100%A trilaminate suit that has built a reputation for longevity with divers ever since an expedition to the Britannic. An off-centre inflation valve and telescopic torso kept neat with a crotch-strap gives room for a long diagonal chest zip. Two thigh pockets are included.
MATERIAL Cordura Velvet Skin
SIZES 20 male, 9 female
COLOURS Black, blue or red
MADE TO MEASURE No
www.drysuits.co.uk

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WHITES FUSION £890

width=100% width=100%An unusual rethink of drysuit design, this suit uses an inner membrane or shell with a separate outer covering attached at the cuffs, ankles and cross-chest zip. Legs finished with sock-ends allow the use of separate boots. Its like no other drysuit - and feels better than it looks.
MATERIAL 200 Denier Bilaminate
SIZES XXS - XXXL
COLOURS Various outer skins
MADE TO MEASURE No
www.sdswatersports.co.uk

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WHITES CATALYST 360 £950

width=100% width=100%A cross-chest zip gives this well-finished yet lightweight Canadian suit the Buzz Lightyear look, and straps at the ankles keep air from migrating to the sock-ends. It has a flexible panel at the waist at the back, and uses separate boots.
A diagonal front-zip version is available.
MATERIAL Quadflex
SIZES XXS - XXXL
COLOURS As illustrated
MADE TO MEASURE No
www.sdswatersports.co.uk

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